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East Knox coon club holds last hunt

Bill Dockery
Features columnist

On Gov. John Sevier Highway about a mile from where it dead-ends into Asheville Highway, a weathered green-and-white sign points toward a one-lane track that skirts a yard and disappears into the woods.

Follow the track around a couple of potholes, past a stack of logs and around a blind curve. Where the driveway to a house forks uphill to the left, keep right through a tight tunnel of overgrowth, past a pasture waist-high in weeds and wildflowers, into another blind curve, and finally to a well-mown clearing surrounding a blue tin shed with a single door.

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Jokes, insight from Joe Johnson

Sandra Clark

The University of Tennessee is in “pretty good shape right now and the quality of students is phenomenal.” That’s the verdict of former UT President Joe Johnson, who spoke last week to the North Knoxville Rotary Club at Litton’s.

Incoming freshmen have an average high school grade point average of 3.8 and an average ACT score of 27 (on a 1-36 scale), he said. And UT is “moving toward 70 percent” on its six-year graduation rate. In-state tuition and fees are about $25,000 per year, he said. So if you can get your kid to graduate in four years rather than six, “you’ve just saved $50,000.”

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‘Feeling the Bern’ for Sanders

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

Knoxville was Feeling the Bern last Wednesday as two standing-room-only groups on opposite ends of town participated in what is being billed as the biggest grassroots political organizing event ever. More than 100,000 people nationwide RSVPed to Bernie Sanders’ invitation to come hear his live-streamed stump speech, and the Knoxville groups attracted far more than 200.

Sanders is a two-term U.S. Senator from Vermont seeking the Democratic nomination for president.

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Wade resignation leaves questions

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

The resignation of Justice Gary Wade from the Tennessee Supreme Court effective Sept. 8 is unexpected and disappointing to many of his supporters and donors who counted on him serving most if not all of the eight-year term he worked so vigorously to win. It raises many questions that are largely unanswered.

Wade is a popular figure in East Tennessee who waged a hard-fought statewide campaign (raising over $1 million) last summer to win another term on the court. He quits after serving one-eighth of the eight years to become the dean of Lincoln Memorial University Law School here in Knoxville. Why?

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Oops, there is a game before Oklahoma

Marvin West

Have you heard the wonderful news? GameDay may be coming to Knoxville for the Oklahoma game. The whole world will be watching. Big chance for Butch to establish big-game credibility.

Neyland Stadium will be filled to overflowing. Joshua Dobbs can take his first real step toward the Heisman Trophy – unless Jalen or Alvin jumps in front of him. You know how young people are these days: full-blast ahead, not much time devoted to respect for elders.

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Smithwood Baptist prepares for 170th anniversary

Jim Tumblin
History and Mysteries

John Smith (1795-1883), W.A.A. Conner (1823-1905), Squire Henry T. Seymour (1877-1968) and Dr. Roy T. Wallace (1918-2007) would be so proud that their dreams for their congregation came true and Smithwood Baptist Church is both alive and well for its 170th anniversary celebration at 10:45 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 9, in a special worship service.

The church was founded on Aug. 11, 1845, originally known as Adair’s Creek Baptist Church. A small group of dedicated Christians assembled on that date, and their meaningful commitment was entered in the church minutes:

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Mass shootings are not unique

Bill Dockery
Features columnist

Monday marked the seventh anniversary of the shootings at my church, Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist on Kingston Pike. Two persons were killed and seven more wounded at a Sunday morning children’s service. An Army veteran and longtime East Tennessean is now serving life without parole for those deaths, which he confessed were generated by his hatred of liberals and gays.

Tragedies like the one at my church have become commonplace, most recently in a Charleston church, a Chattanooga strip mall and a Louisiana theater. Each community that is hit experiences the event as a one-off tragedy – the deaths of innocent individuals, the acts of personal heroism, the gore, the physical and emotional suffering, the perpetrator driven by derangement or ideology or whatever, the public acts of mourning and above all the horror that it could happen “here” (and not somewhere else in the bigger America that – we assume – is more violent than our own peaceable community).

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